Recipe for Success: With Guests Simon Rogan & Michele Gelfand

April 22, 2024
How do strict and relaxed cultures affect the quality of our decisions? And how can you find the sweet spot between the two, depending on your goals?
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  • For help decoding complex financial concepts and the specific decisions we make in our financial lives, including how the phenomena we explore on Choiceology might impact your portfolio, check out our sister podcast, Financial Decoder
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  • For help decoding complex financial concepts and the specific decisions we make in our financial lives, including how the phenomena we explore on Choiceology might impact your portfolio, check out our sister podcast, Financial Decoder

Are rules made to be followed—or meant to be broken? 

Often, the answer will depend on culture and the context in which people make decisions. 

In this episode of Choiceology with Katy Milkman, we look at how carefully people in different contexts follow social norms, rules, and procedures. We'll also see how strict and relaxed cultures affect the quality of our decisions—and how to find the sweet spot depending on your goals.

Professional kitchens have historically been challenging work environments: high standards, long hours with low pay, and a strong hierarchy of cooks in the kitchen. "Yes, chef" was the only appropriate reply to higher-ranked chefs when Simon Rogan came through the ranks during the 1980s and '90s—a time when kitchen culture was tight and uncompromising. Today, Simon is working hard to change that culture across his restaurant group. 

Simon Rogan is a chef and restaurateur in the U.K. whose flagship restaurant, L'Enclume, has three Michelin stars and also holds a Michelin Green Star for its sustainable practices. Simon also runs a culinary program for young chefs called the Academy by Simon Rogan

Next, Katy speaks with Michele Gelfand about her research on tight and loose cultures and their impact on decision-making in different contexts. 

You can learn more from Michele’s paper “Differences Between Tight and Loose Cultures” and take the quiz to determine if you tend to lean tight or loose. 

Michele Gelfand is the John H. Scully Professor in Cross-Cultural Management and Organizational Behavior at Stanford University. She’s also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the author of the book Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World. 

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